Roasted Chicken & Sweet Potatoes
Every year around now, the light becomes more golden and crisp, the temperature drops, and we fall in love with our ovens all over again. On a cool evening, it’s lovely to open the oven and feel a hot blast of air wash over you, especially if it’s filled with roasting meat and aromatic savories. The fall is such a busy time, too, that it’s great to be able to slide dinner into the oven and forget about it for a while — that’s time for helping kiddos with homework, raking leaves or drinking a glass of wine and catching up with your best friend.
For this easy sheet-pan dinner, we coat chicken pieces, sweet potatoes and fennel in olive oil and salt, bake it for 45 minutes and toss it in a vinaigrette. The chicken is tender with a golden, crackly skin. The sweet potatoes are sweet, a little crispy — and such a nice contrast with the light, earthy licorice of the roasted fennel. The vinaigrette pulls all those flavors together and almost steals the show: it’s a super zippy concoction of garlic, Dijon mustard, lemon and sharp, salty pecorino cheese. We wanted to drink it.
Another thing this dish has going for it is that you can use whatever parts of the chicken you like. We grownups tend to like a juicy, ultra-flavorful thigh or drummie, but our kids will always go for the breasts; it’s great to have both on the sheet pan.
Our tip: You will have leftover vinaigrette. Save it to drizzle over your avocado toast, toss with cheesy noodles and dress your corn on the cob.
3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces
½ cup olive oil
2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small fennel bulb, cut into 1-inch wedges, fronds chopped and reserved
¼ cup white wine vinegar
Zest of 1 lemon, plus 2 tablespoons juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, grated
1 ½ teaspoons black pepper, plus more to taste
1 cup pecorino cheese, crumbled or grated
¼ cup fresh parsley leaves
4 cups leafy greens, such as baby spinach, optional
- Heat oven to 425F.
- In a large bowl, toss the chicken with 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and arrange on a large rimmed baking sheet, skin side up.
- In the same bowl, toss potatoes and fennel with 2 tablespoons oil. Season with salt and arrange in an even layer around the chicken.
- Roast until the chicken and potatoes are a deep, golden brown and the fennel is beginning to caramelize around the edges, about 35 to 45 minutes.
- As chicken cooks, combine the vinegar, lemon zest and juice, mustard, garlic and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in the remaining ¼ cup olive oil in a thin stream and stir in the pecorino. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to rest. Toss the fennel fronds and parsley with the roasted vegetables.
- Divide the chicken and roasted vegetables among 4 plates. Serve with a handful of leafy greens if you like, and spoon the pecorino vinaigrette over everything.